Showing posts with label Apocalyptic/Dystopian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apocalyptic/Dystopian. Show all posts

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Last Orphans by N.W. Harris

Genre: Young Adult, Apocalyptic
Source: I received a copy to faclitate my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

From Goodreads:
One horrifying day will change the life of sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker and every other kid in the world. 

In a span of mere hours, the entire adult population is decimated, leaving their children behind to fend for themselves and deal with the horrific aftermath of the freak occurrence. As one of the newly made elders in his small town, Shane finds himself taking on the role of caretaker for a large group of juvenile survivors. One who just happens to be Kelly Douglas—an out-of-his-league classmate—who, on any other day, would have never given Shane a second glance. 

Together, they begin their quest to find out why all of the adults were slaughtered. What they find is even more horrifying than anything they could have expected—the annihilation of the adults was only the beginning. Shane and his friends are not the unlucky survivors left to inherit this new, messed-up planet. No, they are its next victims. There is an unknown power out there, and it won’t stop until every person in the world is dead. 

A spine-tingling adventure that will have you gasping for breath all the way until the last page, The Last Orphans is the first book in an all-new apocalyptic series.

My Thoughts:
My first thought while reading this book was that it should be made into a movie.  Any time I read a book and it becomes so visual, I have to believe it would make a great movie.  I also believe that only really talented authors can do this.  I loved the way that the heroes were those people we would least expect to be heroes.  They would be the ones we wouldn't give a second thought to.  The method the author chose to kill off the adults was terrifying to me.  I can only imagine what a teen would think.  This is so different from most apocalyptic type of books.  Would I recommend this?  You bet!  Will I read it again?  Definitely.  Then I'll sit back a wait, impatiently for the next book.  I love finding new authors and I am so glad I have found this one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Source: I received a copy to help facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

My Thoughts:
I originally did not have a date set to review this book.  I actually received it on Friday.  I just happened to have half of the day off and decided to just peruse the book.  I should know better.  I couldn’t put it down.  The author has created a world that is beautiful and terrifying at the same time.  Meritropolis was created after a major event wiped out most of the world.  To survive they created a society where they gave each inhabitant a score that told what you were worth to their society.  If your score dropped below 50 you were put outside the gates to survive. With all of the terrors that lived outside the gates people didn’t survive.  There were the most fascinating and deadly combination creatures that preyed on those outside the gate. You had gultures, which were a combination of  geckos and vultures, ramas were a combination of a ram and a puma and a manateel which was a manatee and an eel.  I honestly believe this last one came about because of where the author lives. 

Charley is the main character. At age eight Charley and his ten year old Down’s Syndrome brother Alec were all that was left of their family.  They had lost their parents in the Event.  Charley saw his brother removed and he was placed outside the gate.  It was for this reason that Charley grew up determined to get rid of the system that killed his brother.  When he turns seventeen he is considered an adult and no longer has to live underground.  He has one of the highest scores and is noticed by those in charge.  The question is, if Charley is successful in overthrowing this system will he and the others be better off or will they have destroyed the only thing that has kept them alive all this time.

I asked for a physical copy because I believed it would be a book that I should have on my shelves.  I not only believe it, I am trying to figure out where to fit it in as a read aloud to my students.  Besides the violence this is a very clean read.  It opens the door for honest conversations about what is morally right for everyone.  I am hoping there is a sequel to this book and look forward to reading it if so.  This is an author I definitely need to keep an eye on.

About the Author:

Joel Ohman is the author of Meritropolis--"The Hunger Games meets The Village with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist". He lives in Tampa, FL with his wife Angela and their three kids. His writing companion is Caesar, a slightly overweight Bull Mastiff who loves to eat the tops off of strawberries.

Picture courtesy of:

You can find the author here:   Goodreads 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Narrowing Path – David J. Normoyle

Pages:  262
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Sources:  I received a copy to review, the opinions expressed here are my own

Warning: Extreme Violence

From Goodreads:
Only the strongest, smartest and most ruthless will survive.
Every six years, the world draws nearer to the sun. In Arcandis, those who want to live must claim the limited places in the Refuge, a series of underground caverns cooled by the sea.

The teenage boys of noble birth are sent out into the city to demonstrate their wits and strength. Some prove themselves in combat, others display their empire building skills, still others attempt to kill off their rivals. Out of over a hundred, only six will be selected by the leaders of the great families and allowed a place in the Refuge. The rest will perish, one way or another.

Not only is thirteen-year-old Bowe younger and weaker than most of the other boys, he has no family to support him. He is expected to die on the very first day of the narrowing path. Instead he begins a journey no one could have anticipated.

My Thoughts:
I have to say that the synopsis drew me in and the story finished me off.  This was a wonderful book.
Bowe Bellanger was the only survivor of his family.  As an infant his entire family committed suicide. He was of noble birth and raised  to participate in the Green Path.  He must win one of the coveted spots if he is to survive the Infernam, the time when the sun bakes their planet and the lucky ones survive for those two weeks in the Refuge, a series of caves under the ocean.  Bowe was raised in a caste society where he needs the help of those beneath his status, yet looks and talks down to them.  However, as the story moves along we see Bowe begin to change and question those in charge of this competition.  He is a leader.  No one thought he would survive.  They figured he would be the first to die.  They were wrong. He begins to think about others who might not win a spot. He wants to find a way to save them all.  What will he do?  Is it possible? Read to find out, then watch for the second and third book both due out in 2014. The second book is called the Treacherous Path and is due out in February. The third book is called the Collapsing Path and is due out in August.

You can find out more about the author and his books at:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Moirai - Ruth Silver

Publisher: LazyDay Publishing (eBook), Patchwork Press (print)
Pages: 246
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Source:  I received a review copy from the author.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

Ruth Silver is the author of the wonderful book Aberrant.  You can find my review of that book here.  I will give you a quick heads up about the book before we move on to the main topic.  Cabal is a dystopian society.  Women have not been able to conceive and give birth for many generations.  The government selects couple to be married when they turn eighteen and then later they give them a child that was created in a lab.  Olivia and Joshua are ready for all of this when Olivia is thrown in prison.  Her crime was that she was born naturally, not created in a lab.  She escapes with the help of Joshua and that is the beginning of their story.

  (paperback cover)                    Here is an excerpt from the second book:
My feet crunched on weeds as I pushed my way through the waist-high grasses towards the river. It was rare anyone ventured outside of Shadow. In most cases leaving wasn't permitted. Was I breaking the rules by being here? I didn't know the answer to that questions and hoped I wouldn't find out. Bending down, my body hid among the grasses as I dipped my bare feet into the water. I shivered and grimaced scrunching my nose from the sensation. As quick as my feet had dipped into the icy cold water, I pulled them out. With a slight splash I heard  a rustling in the distance.

"Who's there?" My voice echoed as I stood. I wasn't afraid. Shadow was my home. Although I'd ventured from the town, it wasn't far. I glanced in the direction of Shadow and could barely make out the community. Perhaps I'd traveled further than I thought.

The grass shifted in the distance and I felt my heart skip a beat. My eyes widened as I quickly took off for town. I ran as fast as my legs would take me. Gasping for breath, I refused to slow down. Whether it was an animal or an outlaw, I wasn't waiting around to find out. Swiftly, I headed for Shadow. My knees lifted higher off the ground with each bare step I took. I didn't turn around but I could hear the pounding of weight against grass. Whoever or whatever was behind me wasn't small or light and they were gaining on me. I didn't have time to scream as i felt a large body coming down hard on top of me. My face slammed into the grass, scratching my cheek as I gasped for breath. "Help!" The words barely left my lips as my head lolled up from the ground; someone ripped at my hair and slammed me fast back into the grass. I bit my bottom lip, tasting dirt as I jammed my elbow behind me. I had to think fast. I'd spent months in Shadow training and now was the time to use it!

"Having fun yet?" the voice echoed into my ear. The whispered breath made me shudder. I didn't recognize the voice. Was I supposed to? I couldn't turn my head around, no matter how hard I tried.

(ebook cover)

My Thoughts:
Joshua and Olivia have left Cabal and joined one of the rebel cities known as Shadow. Here they begin to grow and mature.  Mindonsiphon gives Olivia special powers. While in Shadow she trains to prepare for a war she know will happen.  She will have to face Genesis.  Olivia and Joshua journey to another rebel city called Torv.  Olivia becomes friends with a doctor named Elsa from Shadow. She has been working with the women in Torv.  Olivia is working with her for two reasons.  One she is trying to learn more about her body and why she is capable of giving birth and why others are not.  Torv has been working on this problem for a while and had some success.  Unfortunately there is a nasty side effect.  The mothers die shortly after giving birth.

There are several things to really like about this book.  One is that it is a dystopian society.  Although I would not ever want to live in it.  It is scary to see how much of it could possibly happen to us.  That is one of the things that make it so good.  The world building is once again awesome. Like most great dystopians it has the ability to make you feel like you are right there with the characters.  It is so realistic a feeling you feel the dread the characters must feel.  Like so many young adult novels today there is a love interest going on.  Unlike so many of them today it is not a love story where they met one day and knew in a matter of minutes they belonged together.  These two characters grew up together as best friends and grew into their love for each other.  It is not rushed or mushy.  It develops naturally.  This is one thing that Ruth Silver has on other authors.  She is not concerned about rushing her characters into the love scene.  Her whole book develops naturally.  We know there is more to come.  We know that they must face this brewing battle and yet we must wait for the next book in the series.  Oh, my gosh.  It seems almost too painful to have to wait.  But wait we will for the next wonderful installment.

About the Author
        Ruth Silver attended Northern Illinois University and graduated with a Bachelor's in Communication in the spring of 2005.  While in college, she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004.  Silver enjoys reading, photography, traveling and most of all writing.  She loves dystopian and fantasy young adult stories. She currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois. You can find Ruth at 

Available for purchase on:

Kindle / Nook / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Aquifer - Johnathan Friesen

Publisher:  Blink (August 6, 2013)
Pages: 304
Source: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

From Goodreads:
Only he can bring what they need to survive...

In 2250, water is scarce, and those who control it control everything. And they’ll do anything to maintain their power – deceiving, dividing families, banning love... even killing those who oppose them.

But above all, they seek to control knowledge and communication – ensuring the truth that will bring their downfall will never be known. But one person verges on discovering it all.

Sixteen-year-old Luca becomes the Deliverer, the only one allowed to contact the people called ‘Water Rats,’ who mine the essential water deep underground and bring it to the ‘Toppers’ who desperately need it above. 

But when he meets a Water Rat who captures his heart and leads him to secrets – secrets about a vast conspiracy, and about himself – the net around him tightens. Luca and those around him must uncover and share the truth needed to overthrow tyranny – even as they fight for their lives.

My Thoughts
Once I started this book I had trouble putting it down.  The only reason I did was because I was sick and had to go to bed.  I spent today in bed finishing the book.  The worlds the author created were very fascinating.  The Toppers lived in a deprived world.  Deprived of any free thought, deprived of emotions.  Lucas thought he was cursed as the son of the Deliverer, and the next in line to carry on the duties.

When forced to go underground to perform the duties his father has performed he finds a world completely different from what he has been led to believe actually exists.  He soon finds out that not everything is as beautiful as it seems and that the underground world holds just as many secrets.  These are secrets that set Lucas on a predestined path to help change the world.  This was an allegorical read.  It was one that has stayed with me all day and one that I believe  I should recommend to everyone.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Entanglement - Dan Rix

Pages: 322
Source: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopian

This author definitely created a unique world.  Soul mates are born at the same time and have a clairvoyant connection.  At age 18 they meet and the connection is complete.  Amber and Clive are considered soul mates. That is until Aaron and Amber meet. Aaron also shares the same birth date.  Aaron has never felt a connection and figured he never would since his brain has scar tissue over the area where the connection is made.  When he meets Amber he starts feeling connected.  Things are not what they seem in this world.  Amber and Clive's parents belong to a group that introduce mates early.  There is a not so nice reason behind this.  Aaron finds out. The book over all was good.  I didn't like Clive at all.  He seemed to only want to possess Amber whereas Aaron seemed to really care.  I had an issue that several things happened in the book and there were never any parents around.  That made it a little unbelievable for me.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blog Tour: Aberrant by Ruth Silver

Publisher:  Lazy Day Publishing

Format:  ebook

Source:  Received a review copy from author

Genre:  Young Adult, Dystopian

Book Synopsis:

            In the future dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system.  There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone.  The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government's match in marriage and "The Day of the Chosen", a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn't existed in generations.  Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she's arrested and thrown in prison.  The only crime committed, her existence.  Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from "The Day of the Chosen."  The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system. 
            With Joshua's help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run.  Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together.  Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven.  New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay.  Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands.  Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her.  Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.      

My Thoughts:
             I absolutely love reading dystopian novels.  We just finished doing a study of dystopian literature, music and poetry in my middle grade class.  There was no hesitation in agreeing to read and review this book.  Ruth Silver is a very talented writer.  The world she created is so realistic that  as a reader I was sucked into it from the beginning.  I was carried along with the action right along with Olivia and Joshua.  With the advances we are making in science today this world was scary real.  I could not imagine a world where your spouse is chosen for you.  I also could not imagine a world where women could no longer have children naturally and they had to be "made" in a lab.

           I was horrified to realize that Olivia was imprisoned because her mother was a rarity.  Leaving the only home she has ever known was scary for me as I read the book.  I was glad she and Joshua were together through all of the hardships they faced.  This is one of those books that you really don't want to say too much because you would give away too much.  I will say that anyone who loved the Hunger Games will definitely love this book.  They will sit and tensely wait for the next book in this series.  After all, everything is not as it seems.

Author Biography:

            Ruth Silver attended Northern Illinois University and graduated with a Bachelor's in Communication in the spring of 2005.  While in college, she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004.  Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories.  Her love of writing led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia.  Silver enjoys reading, photography, traveling and most of all writing.  She loves dystopian and fantasy young adult stories.  Ruth has been actively writing since she was a teenager.  She currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois. You can find Ruth by following her on Twitter @writeawaybliss, or on Facebook: writeawaybliss

The paper back edition of this book comes out July 9th.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Prince Who Fell From the Sky - John Claude Bemis


Publisher:  Random House (May 22, 2012)
Pages:  272
Source:  Review copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Genre:  Middle Grade, Post-Apocalyptic, Animal Fantasy

From Goodreads:
In Casseomae's world, the wolves rule the Forest, and the Forest is everywhere. The animals tell stories of the Skinless Ones, whose cities and roads once covered the earth, but the Skinless disappeared long ago.

Casseomae is content to live alone, apart from the other bears in her tribe, until one of the ancients' sky vehicles crashes to the ground, and from it emerges a Skinless One, a child. Rather than turn him over to the wolves, Casseomae chooses to protect this human cub, to find someplace safe for him to live. But where among the animals will a human child be safe? And is Casseomae threatening the safety of the Forest and all its tribes by protecting him?

Middle-grade fans of post apocalyptic fiction are in for a treat with this fanciful and engaging animal story by the author of the Clockwork Dark trilogy.

My Thoughts:
This is one author who has that magical touch that allows his animals to become somewhat human.  In a world where the humans are supposedly extinct, a bear and rat find themselves protecting a child who fell from the sky.  When a flying craft crashes in the forest, Dumpster, a rat and Casseomae find themselves the protector of the only survivor, a young boy.  The animals of the forest call humans the “skinless ones”.  As you read you realize they have many prejudices against humans based on what they have heard from tales passed down.  I thought it interesting that Dumpster was the keeper of the memories.  He is despised by others in the forest because he lived among the humans.  Dogs are even lower on the list because they lived with the humans. 

Knowing this small boy or cub as Casseomae calls him will not harm them, she sets out to get him to safety.  When word of the child reaches their leader Ogeema, he is determined to kill the child.  I loved the bond between the bear and the boy.  I loved the way Dumpster pretended he didn’t care about the boy and that he was nothing but trouble.  His actions proved different.   This reminded me of the movie “Ice Age” where the wooly mammoth was determined to get the small boy back to his people.

I loved the writing style.  Bemis did not tell the names of animals.  He described them through the eyes of the band of animals traveling together.  When Casseomae comes upon her first strange animal she described it as a “strange deer.  It had an exceptionally long neck ….she could make out spots over its coat, large brown blots against a field of tawny yellow.” (Page 193)  It would have been so much easier to just say they saw the carcass of a dead giraffe.  His descriptions showed the animals as intelligent but not all knowing.  I had not read his previous trilogy The Clockwork Dark, but will definitely do so now.  This is an author I will proudly recommend to all of my students and parents. 

Come back tomorrow for a guest post from the Author.


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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Swipe – Evan Angler

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Pages:  288
Source: Review copy from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review
Genre:  Middle Grade, Dystopian

Book Description
Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?
Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.
The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

My Thoughts
I loved this book.  I am purchasing it for my school bookshelves.  I think this will appeal to people of all ages.  As an adult I can see our society headed this way.   I can only imagine the fear Logan felt when his sister didn’t return from her trip to get the Mark.  I was concerned in the beginning of the book that he was just being paranoid that he was being watched and followed.
Erin’s move to Spokie made me wonder why her mother did not come with them.  Her father can stop a question from anyone; just by telling them he works for the government.  Any government that is this secretive and deceptive can’t be that great. 
This book did have something unique that stuck with me.  In the beginning of the book Evan’s house was describe.  Most of the houses are vertical.  This means there is one room per floor.  I thought this would seem very strange as a living situation.  You couldn’t just walk across the hall to your sister’s room.  You would need to go up or down a floor to see them.
This book has enough suspense to hopefully hold the reader until the second book comes out in September.  It is called Sneak, and will hopefully answer many questions that are left unanswered. 
I am grateful to Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze program for allowing me to read and review this book.  It is one I will promote to my students next year.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fever – Lauren DeStefano

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Pages:  341
Source:  Received a copy from publisher for review
Genre:  Young Adult Dystopian

Just One More Day!  February 21st this book becomes available!

Warning:  This book is for the more mature reader as it contains sexual content in the form of forced prostitution (human trafficking) some violence  and profanity.

From Goodreads:
Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

My Thoughts:
I wondered if I would like this book as much as the first.  It did not disappoint.  It continues Rhine and Gabriel’s story where the first book left off.  Rhine is on her way to New York City to try to find her brother Rowan.  Along the way we meet many new and interesting characters and it seems as if Rhine’s problems increase.  Lauren DeStefano has created a dystopian world in which she brings up topics many authors are afraid to touch.  We get a look at human trafficking and prostitution.  We see Rhine doubt her decision to flee.  Back with Linden she had everything she could have wanted from him, except freedom.  Out in the world she must once again face the real world full of evil people who helped imprison her in the first place.  Just because she escaped Linden doesn’t mean she can or will escape his father Vaughn.  Vaughn is another one who is after her. 

One thing I was disappointed in was Gabriel.  In Wither I felt he took very limited risks.  Between the two of them he came across as the weak one.  I personally didn’t see a lot of growth in him throughout this second book.  Maybe with the introduction of some of the other characters like Silas, there was a reason for this.  I can’ wait to see what the third and final book will hold for us.  I will definitely recommend this book to everyone who really loves dystopian fiction, as well as those who read Wither.  This is a must read book.  The twists and turns are awesome.  You think you’ve figured something out and suddenly you turn around and it wasn’t at all the way you thought it should have been.  The wait for the third book in this series is going to seem to be a long one.  It is one for which I will try to be patient.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Multiple Reviews: Random Souls, Scored, The Goodbye Man

It is my hope and desire that I can read and post 2 - 3 book reviews throughout my winter break.  My family has given me the gift of quiet.  They are leaving me alone to do what I love best.  Read and write.  So here are three more books that I have read and reviewed. As you can see, I am a very eclectic reader.

Random Souls - Deanna Rutledge
Publisher:  WestBow Press
Pages:  320
Source:  Review copy from author
Genre:  Adult, Christian, Realistic Fiction

In This Day and Age, it is not uncommon to turn on the television and find a scandal involving a church or members of its staff.  So it is with "Random Souls".  Aloha Community church is no stranger to scandal.  This tends to make the congregation stay alert.  Then we have Miss Lottie.  She seems to always be on the lookout for the negative or evil that may or may not exist.  She isn't content to look for trouble, she gossips about what she "thinks" is happening.  When Pastor Jason makes a mistake in the way he handled a situation with a woman he was counseling, Lottie sees it, puts her own spin on it and then her tongue goes to wagging.  God uses Pastor Jason and the events that threaten to destroy this church to actually begin the healing process.  Lives are changed because God shows that love conquers all.  Love for fellow man and church.  This was a wonderfully written book.  It demonstrates how rumors can ruin a church.    I whole-heartedly recommend this book.

Scored – Lauren McLaughlin
Publisher:  Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages:  240
Source:  I received a copy from The Picnic Basket for review
Genre:  YA, Dystopian

From Goodreads:
Set in the future when teenagers are monitored via camera and their recorded actions and confessions plugged into a computer program that determines their ability to succeed. All kids given a "score" that determines their future potential. This score has the ability to get kids into colleges, grant scholarships, or destroy all hope for the above. Scored's reluctant heroine is Imani, a girl whose high score is brought down when her best friend's score plummets. Where do you draw the line between doing what feels morally right and what can mean your future? Friendship, romance, loyalty, family, human connection and human value: all are questioned in this fresh and compelling dystopian novel set in the scarily foreseeable future.

My Thoughts:
As a teacher, I’m always trying to get my students to work hard.  We all know that the state test scores determine so much for a student.  It looks like someone finally wondered what it would be like if we went to the extreme and came up with this awesome book.  Imagine a world where you are continuously watched and judged.  Imani is a teenager who has bought into the whole ScoreCorp garbage.  Why?  She has a high score.  Everything affects your scores,  who you are friends with, who you date, who you work with or help in school.  There is no privacy.   Step out of line and you could ruin your whole life.  Of course, isn’t it funny that ScoreCorp is the one in control?  Only the rich can afford to go to college.  If you want a chance then your parents must agree to have you scored.  Imani’s score drops.  She is paired with Diego to complete a project.  Diego doesn’t have a score because his family is filthy rich.  This pairing up opens Imani’s eyes to many things that are going on around her.

I have to say this would be a wonderful book to read together in class.  The debates that could occur would be great.  I could see picking an issue from the book and using Socratic circles to discuss those issues.  I guess I see it this way because I am a teacher and we see so much pressure put on teachers and students about test scores.  I think this is a book that parents, teachers and students will enjoy.
I hope there is more from this author on this topic.  If not I look forward to reading more of her work.

The Goodbye Man – Chad Barton
Publisher:  AuthorHouse
Pages:  220
Source:  I received a review copy from his publicist
Genre:  Adult Thriller

From Amazon:
As more people filled the packed church, Jack was forced to move down the wall toward the front, until he was very near the altar. From that vantage point, he could see the young mother's face. He found himself staring at her, unable to look away. He didn't know why. Perhaps it was the terrible sadness in her face. He watched her intently as she clutched a little brown teddy bear and a picture of her daughter, who now lay only feet away in a small casket. The size of it made him wince. Jack felt the anger rise within him At sixty years old, Jack Steele has long since retired from putting criminals-especially those that hurt children-in prison. Following his retirement from law enforcement, he built a successful multimillion-dollar company, allowing him financial freedom in his golden years. Following the unexpected loss of his wife, Sarah, however, he withdraws into himself. He becomes a loner whose only companion is his German shepherd, Sadie. Sick of a court system that lets monsters out of prison to torture and kill again and again, he decides there is only one way to stop them. Using his own resources, his credentials as a retired police officer, and his .380 Walther, he and his dog begin to hunt-bringing justice to those whom the system cannot control. After all, enough is enough.

My Thoughts:
The Goodbye Man is one of those books that makes you think about heinous crimes and vigilantes.  As I read about Jack Steele who takes justice into his own hands I thought back to all of the Charles Bronson movies I watched when I was younger.  I understood why he exacted justice, yet I did not completely agree with it.  If we let vigilantes rule the world we go back to the beginnings of the Old West days when people exacted their own justice. In the book, I understood the Jack’s feelings.  Let me give you a personal example. 

I graduated with a young man who was nice looking, extremely polite, expected to marry his high school sweetheart and become a success.  He did all of that.  His wife, also a girl I graduated with was best friends with a family with whom I attended church.  This young couple often babysat the niece of this family.  When this man’s marriage began to fail, his wife temporarily moved in with her friends.  Out of anger and revenge toward his wife, he picked the young girl he had babysat up on her way home from school.  No problem for her, no fear, she had been picked up by him before.  This six foot two, 280-pound man raped, murdered and cut up the body of this sweet little seven year old.  I was devastated when she went missing as we had lost a young girl who lived at the end of our street the year before. They hunted for her.  The parents who were in the Bahamas trying to reconcile their own marriage flew back.  A month later hunters found the girls body.  When the young man was convicted, I danced around the room.  We had the electric chair at that time and I watched for years as he sat on death row waiting his turn.  When it finally came, I was glued to the TV because I wanted to know it was over.  The funny thing is, I was not thrilled like I figured I would be.  My heart ached because another family had lost a child.  True it was due to  his own fault.  The young girl’s family had met with this young man on several occasions and let him know that they forgave him.  They were vilified for doing such a thing.  As a Christian, I understood why they did so, and understood why I felt so bad about my own feelings.  Do I believe in capital punishment?  You bet I do.  However, I have known of several cases where people were wrongfully convicted, served time and released and then the courts system comes back and says, “Oh yeah, we found the guilty party but didn’t have enough evidence at the time and someone had to pay.”  That was a true story.  That person’s life was ruined.  His reputation was ruined.  It didn’t matter what the law said, because they had been convicted, so there had to have been some element of truth to the matter.  On the other hand, I have seen people go free on technicalities or lack of good evidence only to repeat the same offence.  We all want to see justice done.

Now that I’ve gotten off my high horse let me finish my review.  The characters were well fleshed out and it was an on the edge of your seat read for me.  It kept emotions flowing throughout.   I did enjoy it for that very reason.  I enjoyed it because I know the difference between fiction and reality.  I can justify reading something like this because we all feel like Jack Steele at times.  It gives us an out for those feelings.  Would I recommend this book?  You had better believe it.  If I didn’t like crime novels like this, I wouldn’t read them in the first place.  This was a very good book and I will definitely read anything else this author writes.  I highly recommended it.